Coronavirus (COVID-19): FAQs

Latest information from the College.

This page has been set up to provide updates on decisions taken by the college and information for incoming and returning students who have questions about the effect of Coronavirus (Covid-19) on College life. It will be updated on a regular basis.

Last reviewed 4 November 2020.

We are incredibly grateful for the creativity and flexibility that our staff and students have shown responding to these unprecedented and challenging times. We also give thanks for the innovative mission and ministry that so many are offering within their communities, workplaces, churches and local contexts.  

Although this season offers a range of opportunities and new possibilities for learning and formation, we are also aware that for many it is undoubtedly challenging and draining, and is placing extraordinary demands on staff and students across the College. We would ask that you be kind and compassionate to one another as faithful stewards of God’s grace.

For the 2021/22 academic year, plans will be developed in line with emerging government guidance and regulations, and informed by our learning and experience from this academic year. We have sought to adapt our teaching and delivery in response to student feedback and consultation in order to provide the best student and learning experience possible.

The below information relates to the academic year 2020/21.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the College’s plans for the 2020/21 academic year?

While we all long to be back together in person, we are mindful of our moral and ethical duty to ensure the safety not only of staff and students but also our wider communities, as well as adhering to government guidance and regulations. 

In the shift to online delivery, we want to maintain the excellent quality of both our academic and formational standards in teaching and learning to ensure that students continue to flourish. This also includes student support, academic development, and learning resources. With any plans made, flexibility is also necessary, allowing the College to respond quickly to changing external and internal circumstances. 

For Michaelmas (autumn) term, all teaching and preparatory content in the autumn term is accessible via a blend of video lectures, activities, learning resources and live online classes. In person gatherings for formational and relational engagement has been trialled in some centres where feasible and within government guidance. 

It is clearly the case that an online version of academic provision is going to be necessary for Epiphany (Spring) term. We also recognise a desire from students to return to face-to-face teaching and the need to put plans in place that work towards this. This plan has drawn from student feedback about Michaelmas Term delivery and has involved consultations with student representatives and staff. Decisions have been guided by the criteria published below. Whilst we will ensure online delivery of teaching is available throughout the term, our intention has been to set the foundations for a return to face-to-face teaching when possible and if relevant criteria are met. Where a centre has a locally available lecturer with the relevant subject matter expertise, they may choose to trial face-to-face teaching for particular lectures during the term. This will be offered for those students who wish to attend in-person teaching.

We are intending to communicate regarding plans for teaching delivery in Trinity (Summer) Term in early March when we hope to have an idea of the expected trajectory of national and local restrictions.

How is the College delivering its academic programmes in Michaelmas term?

As we did in Trinity term 2020, the timetable for Michaelmas term was reworked so that students from all centres could follow the same mid-week teaching curriculum. This has allowed us to move easily in and out of periods of lockdown, as required, throughout the first term.

While provision is online, the College has reduced the number of online live session delivery points to two days and one evening, as follows:

  • Monday day: London/North West 
  • Tuesday day: South West/East Midlands 
  • Tuesday evening: London/Chelmsford

From Epiphany Term, Thursday evening teaching will be reinstated for Chelmsford Centre students.

What are the timings for my delivery day/evening in Michaelmas term?

For daytime delivery, students on undergraduate programmes keep to their normal college hours and approach their teaching and learning as follows: 

  • 9.30am – 10am: Worship
  • 10am – 11am: The student works through the preparatory content (having done the preparatory reading in advance) 
  • 11am – 11.30am: Break
  • 11.30am – 1pm: Online class
  • 1pm – 2pm: Break
  • 2pm – 4pm: Afternoon Programme
  • 4.15-4.30pm: Worship

Due to the seminar style delivery of the MA programmes, the timetable will be keeping to normal college hours as follows:

  • 9.30am – 10am: Worship
  • 10am – 11am: Online Class 
  • 11am – 11.30am: Break
  • 11.30am – 1pm: Online Class
  • 1pm – 2pm: Break
  • 2pm – 4pm: Afternoon Programme (if applicable)
  • 4.15-4.30pm: Worship

For evening delivery, the pattern for the live portion of the evening as follows: 

  • 7.00-7.30pm: Tuesday Chelmsford students Worship
  • 7.15-7.45pm: Tuesday London students Worship
  • 7.45-9.15pm: Online class

What are the timings for my delivery day/evening in Epiphany term?

In response to student feedback and consultation and in order to allow for more time in live lectures for discussion and Q&A, we are making the following changes to the timings for mid-week Epiphany Term provision:

Daytime input (London Monday, North West, South West & East Midlands)

  • 9.30am-10.00am: Worship
  • Undergraduate:
    • 10.00am-10.45am: Break & time to prepare for lecture
    • 10.45am-11.45am: Lecture / Part 1
    • 11.45am-12.00pm: Break
    • 12.00pm-1pm: Lecture / Part 2
  • Postgraduate (MA) – this will run as usual:
    • 10:00-11am: Module A
    • 11:00-11:30am: Break
    • 11:30am-1pm: Module B
  • 1pm-2pm: Lunch Break
  • 2-4pm: Afternoon Programme 

 

Evening input (London Tuesday & Chelmsford)

  • 7.00pm-7.30pm: Worship
  • 7.30pm-8.30pm: Lecture / Part 1
  • 8:30pm-8:40pm: Break
  • 8:40pm-9.15pm: Lecture / Part 2

 

Preparatory Work

  • Prep reading and prep work will be combined into one item of preparation. It will be expected that all students complete this before the teaching day. Full-time students will have a short time slot available before lectures to review this and prepare for the live lecture.

Will there be any on-site activity alongside online delivery?

While the College is delivering academic and formational content online in Michaelmas term so that it is available to all students no matter their situation (including those shielding), some centres have trialled meeting on-site in small groups (a formation group with a formation group tutor, or where size permits, student year groups and staff, or even whole centres) during Michaelmas term.

Whilst we will ensure online delivery of teaching is available throughout Epiphany term, our intention has been to set the foundations for a return to face-to-face teaching when possible and if relevant criteria are met. Where a centre has a locally available lecturer with the relevant subject matter expertise, they may choose to trial face-to-face teaching for particular lectures during the term. This will be offered for those students who wish to attend in-person teaching.  

What are the criteria for in-person gatherings?

Any on-site activity this academic year is, subject to the following requirements: 

Essential:

  • In-person gatherings adhere to government guidance
  • The site in question permits on-site activity
  • Staff and student safety is not compromised
  • Staff and students can make suitable travel arrangements and within government guidelines
  • Site staff (e.g. vergers) have the right protocols in place
  • In-person attendance is optional for students and staff during the period in which any trial meetings are held
  • The Covid-19 risk assessment is completed

Preferable:

  • Any small group is not below 5 in number for viability
  • Schools to be fully open

Please note that on-site activity may be cancelled at short notice. The College will aim to communicate with as much advance warning as possible. 

Can I still gain access to the College’s libraries or borrow books?

At present there are no plans to enable student access to physical libraries for Michaelmas term. However re-opening will be considered in light of the College’s phased return to its buildings. In order to support student learning online, all bibliographies have been updated to reflect the College’s growing digital resource provision.

What Academic Development is available online?

The Academic Development team have created an online version of the academic development programme. Pre-recorded and live Zoom academic development seminars are available  both for specific cohorts as well as for general attendance. The Academic Development Tutor is also available for one-on-one tutorials anytime during the week via Zoom. The Academic Development Tutor will also conduct occasional surgeries to supplement the online pre-recorded material. 

What provision is there to meet with a College Chaplain or Counsellor?

The College Chaplains and the College Counsellor are available for students to book individual online one-on-one sessions throughout the week. All students should contact their Centre Coordinator for information on how to book a session.  

What is the plan for ordinand residentials in Michaelmas term?

Residentials are an integral part of our College life together, and we are making plans to continue to offer excellent teaching and formational input whilst making appropriate arrangements in line with emerging government guidance. 

The September Residential weekend from 18th-20th September was cancelled due to government restrictions. 

Residential Week input is being offered online in two ways depending on the modules being undertaken according to students’ pathways:

  • Level 4 Modules (4FCW: Foundations in Christian Worship & 4P/4PCW: Introduction to Preaching), Level 5 and Level 6 Sacramental Theology Modules (5S/6S: Sacramental Theology and Ministry) are being delivered online via Zoom from Monday 2 – Friday 6 November
  • Level 5 Module 5ELTMM: Exploring Leadership and Theology for Ministry and Mission is being delivered online via Zoom from the evening of Sunday 1 November – Friday 6 November. 

 

The November Residential weekend from 27th-29th November has been cancelled due to government restrictions.  

Ordinands will receive the academic teaching for the modules originally timetabled for the September, November and January Residential Weekends at the online Teaching Week (30 November - 4 December) for independent students. Please see the dates sheets on the website and Moodle. A timetable has been created that allows for ordinands to engage either in the daytime (9.15am-4pm) or evening (7-9.15pm) via Zoom. Current students: please refer to the Dean’s email sent on 15th September 2020 for further detail.

It is not yet clear what will be possible for gathering at Residential Weekends in Epiphany term; however, we are asking all ordinands to protect the dates as scheduled.

What is the plan for the teaching week in Michaelmas term?

Teaching Week will go ahead as planned for independent students (30 November - 4 December), but be delivered online. A full daytime online programme has been put together and we will be running a full set of lectures each day, as per a usual Teaching Week. The day will start at 9.15am with worship, finishing at 4pm with socials to follow the teaching. Current students: please refer to the Dean’s email sent on 15th September 2020 for further detail.

Ordinands will access teaching week input as referred to in the above information related to residentials provision.

What about the social side of College life?

All Centres have offered an online local induction for incoming students; some online ‘social’ space on mid-week teaching days or evenings as relevant; a buddy system which groups incoming students with returning students to share and build College community and culture; and online socials.

What about the worshipping life of the College?

As per usual the College will root its study of theology in the context of worship and prayer midweek, at residentials and at teaching week.

How will the College support ordinands in their placements?

All ordinands and supervisors were briefed at online Supervisor Days/Evenings in September regarding realistic expectations for time in context (not least in relation to the need for ordinands to be able to give half their time each week to academic study).

In addition to the annual placement meeting, Formation Group Tutors will have two Zoom calls either side of half-term with their students and their supervisors, and (as in the usual course of business) continue to arrange one-to-one tutorials with their students.

I’m a full-time ordinand. What will my formational programme look like?

A timetabled Leadership for Healthy Churches  programme of online input (2-4pm following the current timetable) has been provided across all centres. Contributors (whether internal or external) have been asked to provide live teaching on Zoom (or pre-recorded content if necessary) including interaction between students and speaker. Formation Groups (or, where size permits, student year groups) will then meet online to discuss, contextualise and apply the content further and to provide further regular check in points for Formation Group Tutors with their students.

The timetabled programme of input will be largely centre specific but will include some sessions delivered across multiple centres.

I’m a part-time ordinand. What will my formational programme look like?

Formation Group Tutors will schedule at least four (two in each half-term) online sessions with their Formation Group. Additionally, part-time ordinands have access to recorded content from the Leadership for Healthy Churches  programme and so Formation Group Tutors can also make use of this in the context of Formation Group time if they want to.

What is happening with the youth ministry programme and placements?

Youth Ministry students have joined with the student body on a Monday as usual, beginning with worship and morning teaching provision. As afternoon teaching is also accredited under Middlesex for the Theology and Youth Ministry programme, Youth Ministry specific modules and Formation Groups take place online between 2.30pm and 4pm each week. These afternoon lectures and seminars also have preparatory work to complete beforehand.

We recognise that the placement element for Youth Ministry students will have taken on a variety of new and adapted shapes during lockdown and in the ongoing transition back into face to face ministry. It is important therefore to ensure that Mondays and your other weekly study day are protected as much as possible at this time.

All Youth Ministry students and supervisors have been briefed at the online Supervisor Day in September regarding realistic expectations for time in their placement context. In addition to the usual annual placement visit, Formation Group Tutors will have two Zoom calls, one either side of half-term with their students and their supervisors, and (as in the usual course of business) continue to arrange one-to-one tutorials with their students.

The Lead Tutor for Youth Ministry, Alice Smith is your key contact point for any queries not covered elsewhere in this guide.

I’m a full-time undergraduate student. What will my afternoon programme look like?

A timetabled programme of online input is provided on a centre specific basis. Centre Directors (in liaison with the Lead Undergraduate Tutor) decide which (if any) sessions of the Leadership for Healthy Churches programme undergraduate students can join ordinands for. Otherwise, the timetable(s) reflect a mixed but mandatory diet of:

  1. Formation Group time 
  2. Reading and/or study skills seminar
  3. Independent study.

In addition, Formation Group Tutors (as in the usual course of business) arrange one-to-one tutorials with their students.

In Centres that are offering reading and/or study skills seminars as part of their undergraduate afternoon programme, these seminars will be recorded so that students from other centres can access them should they want to.

What if I’m a part-time undergraduate?

Formation Groups will continue to meet online and tutors will continue to be available if you have any queries.

What if I’m a Peter Stream student?

During Michaelmas term the Peter Stream will be delivered online via Zoom at the following times:

For Monday Students
  • 9:30am Worship
  • 10am Session One (Discernment, Life & Study Skills)
  • 11am Coffee Break
  • 11:30am Session Two (Theology)
For Tuesday Students
  • 6pm Session one (Discernment, Life & Study Skills)
  • 7pm Break
  • 7:15pm (optional worship)
  • 7:30pm Session Two (Theology)

If you have any questions about Peter Stream delivery in the autumn term then please contact PeterStream@stmellitus.ac.uk

 

What if I’m a Beginning Theology student?

Beginning Theology will have Formation Group time online as per the timetable. 

What if I’m an LLM student?

For Chelmsford LLM students, in Michaelmas term the academic programme will be delivered as follows:

  •  Year 1 and 2 students will meet on Tuesday evenings, and the pattern for the live portion of the evening will be:
    • 7.15 – 7.30pm: Worship 
    • 7.30 – 9.15pm: Online class

Additionally, Saturday workshops will take place online (supported by online material) for Year 1 students on 21 November (4ELC) and 5 December (4ELC), and for Year 2 students on 17 October (4P).  

  • Year 3 students will meet on Thursday evenings but online.

For further details, or if you have any questions about LLM delivery in Chelmsford in Michaelmas term then please contact rob.merchant@stmellitus.ac.uk or ejordan@chelmsford.anglican.org.

For London LLM students, in Michaelmas term the academic programme will be delivered as follows:

  • Year 1, 2 and 3 students will meet on Tuesday evenings, and the pattern for the live portion of the evening will be:
    • 7.15 – 7.30pm: Worship
    • 7.30 – 9.15pm: Online Class

If you have any questions about LLM delivery in London in the autumn term then please contact matt.prior@stmellitus.ac.uk.

Formational work for all LLM students will continue as scheduled in the current timetable but online. Additionally, LLMs will have access to recorded content from the Leadership for Healthy Churches Programme and Formation Group Tutors may make use of this in the context of Formation Group time.

What if I’m a postgraduate?

Postgraduate formation groups will continue to meet online throughout the autumn term. Dissertation supervision will happen as normal, with meetings held on Zoom. The Graduate Tutor will also hold weekly virtual office hours if students have queries.

My question’s not been answered. Who should I contact?

If you have another question, please contact info@stmellitus.ac.uk.